This comparison of British and German Michelin-starred restaurants involves two countries without a historical tradition of haute cuisine but which nevertheless have made great strides in Michelin-accreditation, with Germany enjoying greater success than the UK. The paper pursues three objectives. The first is to establish why, in both countries, from the early 1980s onwards, a Michelin-starred restaurant sector gained critical mass. Second, focusing on the period of 2002–09, the paper reveals differences between the UK and Germany in the development, stability over time, and spatial and social distribution of Michelin-starred restaurants. Third, the paper explains the differences between the two countries by reference to their divergent social institutional environments, including the cultural templates embedded in them. Throughout the paper, there is a focus on how restaurateurs/chefs manage the tensions between the pursuit of artistic aspirations and business goals.